New Delhi: Former India all-rounder Yusuf Pathan reckons that we should not be too critical of the Indian team for losing against Pakistan in the T20 World Cup 2021 Group 2 opening encounter and went on to add that at the end of the day, one has to remember that it took them 29 years to beat India in a World Cup match. The 38-year-old is of the opinion that it was a one-off match and we should forget about it and look at the future because it is just the beginning of the tournamant.

“As I was saying, you want to win any match you are part of and a cricketer never wishes to lose a game of cricket. We put in a lot of effort and as a fan, I can say that it was just the start of the tournament and we have to motivate our players. We have to understand that it took 29 years for us to lose a match against Pakistan,” said Pathan during a virtual media interaction ahead of the Abu Dhabi T10 tournament.

“It was just a one-off match and we have to remember that these are the players who got selected for the T20 World Cup and there can only 15 of them who can get into the squad and we have to support them because this is just a start of the tournament,” he further said.

Stressing on the fact that it is not the time to be critical, the 38-year-old said, “We can’t be too critical of the Pakistan loss and have to forget this and look at the future. As a country, we have to take a stand for our boys. They have given us joy and happiness and therefore it is only fair to be beside them during this tough phase. We have to have a positive attitude towards our players that back them in every situation.”

With Hardik Pandya not able to bowl because of injury, Pathan thinks that India should look at other options if the all-rounder is not fully fit and reckons that Shardul Thakur, given his outstanding show in Australia and England should be a great option to replace Pandya.

“I don’t know what team management is thinking and what they want to do but if a cricketer is unfit then there should not be any place for him in the playing XI. Also, if the player thinks that he can’t bowl, even then there should not be any place for him in the team,” feels Pathan.

“An all rounder plays a vital role in any team. You already have Ishan Kishan in the squad and he has performed well in the IPL. I would also like to see Shardul Thakur who has done a brilliant all-round job for India in Australia and England. So you have the players,” added Pathan before signing off.

Yusuf Pathan was the part of T20 World Cup 2007 winning squad and also played in ICC World Cup 2011 for India.